Girls’ soccer team wraps up successful season
The girls’ soccer team line-up has changed considerably since the end of last season. This year’s team has only three returning varsity members and a brand new head coach, leaving many opportunities for young players to step up.
Mike Castronova, special education teacher, has been the assistant coach for the past three years, but with the departure of former dean Meghan Kolze, Castronova is the varsity head coach this year.
Castronova carries years of experience, having played and coached for many years on many different levels.
“I’ve been coaching and playing for a long time,” Castronova said. “I coached club soccer, I played in high school and college and coached both of those.”
As an experienced coach, Castronova wants to make the team one cohesive unit.
“A lot of our goals have to do with building a team. We have a couple underclassmen, a bunch of juniors, and a couple seniors. The girls want to get to know each other and play their best at the end of the season,” Castronova said.
In the past, however, the team’s best has only been good enough for second place. After losing to Barrington in the regional finals the past two years, the girls are looking to get back at the Broncos. Maisie Cox, senior, says the rivalry has been heating up over the past couple seasons.
“We really want to beat Barrington this year. We’ve got a little bit of a rivalry with them,” Cox said.
The team would like to do more than just beat Barrington; they wanted to make a run at the state tournament, but unfortunately lost to Cary-Grove in the Regional playoffs. The team finished the season with a conference record of 7-1 and is the Lakes Division and Conference champions.
“We want to win conference, and it’s a reasonable goal so far because we’re undefeated in conference play, and we want to win the regional at the end of the season,” Cox said.
The team sets goals to keep the young players focused throughout the season, and Castronova knows that it is important to have great leaders on and off the field. Cox and Vanesa Abad, junior, were named co-captains this year. Both players have their own way of leading their team.
“I want to be the hardest worker on the team, and I’d like to set a good example for the underclassmen on the team,” Abad said.
Abad is a forward and says she does her best to keep things in order with the offense, which leaves the leadership on the defensive side of the game to Cox.
“I want to be a leader in the backfield; I’m the only senior playing back there, so I have to set up the defense,” Cox said. “It’s gone well so far this year.”
Castronova says it is a bonus having experienced players spread out across the field and on both sides of the field.
“It’s nice this year. Vanesa is in the front and Catalina [Abad, senior,] is mid or backfield, and same with Maisie; it’s nice to have experienced players in a variety of positions,” Castronova said.
Although the team always wants to play their best, the girls realize it is still important to go out make new friends and have fun while playing.
“I’ve been playing for 13 years,” Vanesa Abad said. “The best part is being with my teammates; soccer is my favorite hobby.”